Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity

Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

Two Smart Ideas to Achieve a ‘Learning Generation’

Is big money really necessary, or even sufficient, to improving learning outcomes for children in the developing world? CGD’s background research submitted to the Commission has convinced us that the key to faster progress is not incremental money; it is focused action in two critical areas. The first necessary, unavoidable step is for political leaders, education officials, and parents in low-income countries to recognize the depth of the problem (children’s lives and public money wasted) in their country, and have the information to design and implement local solutions. The second is to shift education funding to paying for results, rather than inputs and plans.

To Improve Learning Outcomes, Look at Teacher Practice

Contrary to popular opinion, there is little reliable evidence showing strong links between student achievement and teachers’ formal qualifications. On the other hand, numerous studies document the relationship between teachers’ classroom performance and student learning outcomes. Getting high-level and consistent performance from teachers in the classroom is central to improving delivery of education services. Yet the performance and effectiveness of teachers varies widely across and within education systems—and even within schools.

Ignorance Attack! New Education Commission Report Sounds Alarm on Global Learning Crisis

If we don’t take action now, millions of children who should be learning to read and write will be illiterate; projections show that only 1 in 10 children in low-income countries will be on track to gain basic secondary-level skills by 2030. This alarm is a central feature of The Learning Generation: Investing in Education for a Changing World, a report released Sunday by the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity. The report’s 12 recommendations should make us all sit up, take note, and take action.

Improving Learning through Simple Teaching Innovations

Could absenteeism be caused by the poor learning taking place in classrooms? After all, with years of schooling without gains in basic foundational skills in reading and math, it is hardly surprising when children struggle to perform. But what would happen if children were taught by their actual learning levels rather than their grade?

Literacy of Adults in Developing Countries: New Data from a Skills Survey

Recently, Lant Prichett blogged about the latest round of the OECD international assessment of adult skills (PIAAC), which included for the first time measures for Jakarta, showing the dismally low levels of skills even in the capital city of a typical middle income country like Indonesia. This prompted me to look at the World Bank’s new skill survey of working age adults in urban areas of developing countries (STEP) that includes a literacy assessment calibrated to the same scale as PIAAC, thus allowing for comparisons. Two striking findings emerge.

Why School Systems Matter, and How We Can Fix Them

Accountability in school systems is essential to deliver better learning and accelerate progress in developing countries. What is still really lacking—and what RISE is working towards—is a coherent and complete analytical framework capturing the key elements of a system of school accountability that can explain the divergent experiences we have seen in school reform.

Pages